Pelham-Windham News

Ice Cream Social a Hit in Pelham

by Russ Ober

Ice cream lovers in Pelham know that if it is the first Wednesday in June, that the annual Ice Cream Social, sponsored by Pelham Elementary School PTA organization, is being held and you better come early.

Principal Alicia LaFrance served gummy bear and M&M toppings in the serving line to Brian Turco, age 9.
Principal Alicia LaFrance served gummy bear and M&M toppings in the serving line to Brian Turco, age 9.

“Last year [2004] we sold out and had to close half an hour early, but I bought more of everything this year,” smiled Jen McPhee who was in charge of the Ice Cream social.  “We have everything except nuts.  We have whipped cream, ice cream, all kinds of toppings from M&Ms™ to sprinkles – everything but nuts.”

Candice Pacheco enjoys her ice cream
Candice Pacheco enjoys her ice cream

In addition to ice cream with all the various toppings the music was play by a DJ from Mobile JukeBox Entertainment.

Principal, Alicia LaFrance, was dancing in the serving line as she helped students and residents with toppings.  Assistant Principal, Kathleen Turner, also served toppings.  “It’s the first year that we’ve had the Principal and Assistant Principal participate.  It’s great to see them come and enjoy the event,” smiled McPhee.

Taryn McPhee prepares to enjoy her ice cream with plenty of toppings
Taryn McPhee prepares to enjoy her ice cream with plenty of toppings

If you missed this year’s very successful event, mark your 2006 calendar and we’ll see you on the first Wednesday in June.

Strawberries, Shortcake, and Sunshine!

by Lynn McNamara

Saturday's Strawberry Festival was a great time for all and according to FLOW member Mindy Davis, the most successful event yet.  Crowds flocked to the library grounds to enjoy the fantastic weather, legendary shortcakes, and many games and attractions.  The group met their goal of raising enough money for the purchase of a drop box outside the library, which will be ordered shortly.  Patrons of the library will no longer have to leave their cars to return their books, a convenience which will be most welcome during inclement weather.

Some interesting facts from the event:

  • 84 flats of strawberries were used.  With each flat of strawberries equal to eight quarts and roughly 12 pounds - over 1,000 pounds of strawberries were consumed!  Organizers of the festival get the strawberries from Donabedian Brothers.
  • More than 1,400 shortcakes were sold, 200 more than last year.
  • Over 200 volunteers worked together over hundreds of hours to pull off the event.
  • This year, 120 cases of drinks were consumed, compared to 40 cases in prior years.
  • It is estimated that between 3,000 - 4,000 people attended.

For the first time ever, the ice cream ran out.  Baskin-Robbins came to the rescue and supplied more!   

Pie Eating contest
Ross McLeod, Planning Board member, faces off against John Kelly, owner of the Village Bean, for the Pie Eating Contest.  The challenge was two pies - Mr. McLeod cleared his plate first!

Pelham Selectmen Decide to Hold Special Town Meeting

by Lynne Ober

Pelham Selectmen have spent a great deal of time since the budget was voted down in March, working on a variety of issues associated with that vote.

Having a default budget at any time presents a difficult scenario, but two issues make this especially difficult.  The default budget was incorrectly calculated in some areas and Pelham is approaching the deadline for the state mandated revaluation.

Some contractual raises should have been included in the default budget and weren’t, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be paid, it just means that other items that should have been in the default budget won’t get done. 

Town Administrator, Tom Gaydos, has also told Selectmen that the figure used to calculate the cost of fuel oil and gasoline is much lower than the price that the Town is currently paying.  Selectman Tom Domenico asked Gaydos to look into signing a three year contract for fuel oil and gasoline so that the price could be correctly calculated in future budgets.

Selectmen met with John Blatsos, Commissioner of the Department of Revenue (DRA) and got advice from him on the revaluation.  Blatsos told Selectmen that it would cost Pelham significantly more money to have DRA oversee the revaluation than if Pelham controlled the work and oversaw the contract.  However, there isn’t enough money in the default budget to allow that to happen.

Selectmen have decided that they will hold a special town meeting and asked Gaydos to present a potential schedule.  If the Town is to save money by controlling the revaluation, that contract needs to be signed in September.  With that end date in mind, Gaydos developed the schedule and presented it to Selectmen.

According to Gaydos, if September 13 is to be the Special Town Meeting date, then July 6, 2005 would be the last date for posting the Budget Hearing Notice.  On July 14 the Budget Committee would be asked to convene and hold session.  On July 27 the Deliberative Session would be posted and it would be held on August 11 with the special Town Meeting held in September.

According to Gaydos, that date would allow Selectmen, if the dollars were approved, to sign the revaluation contract without the addition of any special fees.

Selectman Ed Gleason moved to adopt the proposed schedule for the Special Town Meeting and Selectman Hal Lynde seconded.  The motion was unanimously approved.

Bergeron Granted One Year Junk Yard License

by Lynne Ober

When MtBE was first added to gasoline and lead was eliminated, people believed that air quality would improve, and although that happened, throughout New Hampshire and across America water is being contaminated with MtBE.  Pelham has not escaped from this contamination.

As a result of this, and other types of contamination, Selectmen proposed and residents voted to set more stringent guidelines for granting a junkyard license than is required under state statue.

Because Jean-Guy’s Used Cars and Parts, Inc., on 180 Marsh Road has been the center of a MtBE contamination debate, granting Jean Guy Bergeron a license renewal has become a yearly issue with residents voicing concerns and Bergeron talking about his business and his right to continue to do business at his location.

Bergeron, both a Pelham Selectman and a State Representative, appears to get special scrutiny.  Selectmen over the past few years have worked to ensure that no favoritism is shown to him.  Bergeron always recuses himself from the discussion and ensuring vote.

This year was no different.  The first Public Hearing was recessed at the request of the two newest Selectmen, who needed to do more research when background from the 80s was brought forward at the public hearing.

Selectman, Tom Domenico, agreed to work with Town Administrator, Tom Gaydos, on this research.  A lengthy conference call was held with New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES).  Speaking with Hydro-Geologist Sara Kirn, Domenico and Gaydos were assured that Bergeron had not only been very cooperative, but had, indeed, done everything that he could be expected to do and that there was nothing further that he could do.

Gaydos told Selectmen that DES believed that a portion of the MtBE contamination in the Marsh Road was attributable to past releases on the Bergeron property and that small spills and releases of gasoline by one or more homeowners throughout the study area could not be ruled out as possible contributors to the contamination on Marsh Road.

Gasoline is not a controlled substance and many homeowners own one or more pieces of equipment using gasoline – from lawn mowers to snow blowers to snow mobiles as well as a plethora of other tools, such as chain saws.  Knocking over a can filled with gasoline while trying to fill the gas tank on any gasoline driven engine, may cause water pollution.

In a written summary provided by DES Hydro-Geologist Sara Kirn of the conference call, Kirn made the following statements:

  • “The size of the MtBE plume has decreased significantly.
  • MtBE concentrations in all water supply wells where MtBE has been detected above the drinking water standard, except one, have decreased overall since project inception.
  • MtBE concentrations in all monitoring wells, except one (MW-6R) have decreased overall since they were installed.
  • MtBE concentrations in monitoring well MW-6R are fluctuating with groundwater levels (higher concentrations when groundwater level is low.)
  • Mr. Bergeron has improved best management practices (BMPs) at his salvage yard.”

John Sergi, 161 Marsh Road, spoke at length at the second public hearing.  While he recognized that there had been some improvements and that the water was getting better, he was still concerned.  His comments ranged from concern because residents had to pay to change the filters on the filtration systems that the state had installed to concern because there isn’t a fence completely around Jean Guy’s to complaints that rodents live in the cars on the Bergeron property to complaints about the house on the property.

Sergi said that many of the abutting residents had asked him to speak on their behalf.  Citing Mr. Belleville, he said that he didn’t feel that he had been treated respectfully at previous public hearings.

Sergi asked that the following steps be taken:

  • Grant only a 90 day license
  • Either finish the unfinished home or have it completely destroyed because it has been an eye sore for years.
  • State to check water in homes with the filtration systems and maintain the systems.  Sergi said that it cost $800 to change the filters on those systems.
  • Have a rodent study.  Sergi asked how the Health Officer could give a clean license without checking for rodents.
  • Wanted a fence installed all around the property because it was an eyesore.
  • Sergi also felt that Bergeron was given special treatment because of his status as Selectman and State Representative.

Board of Selectmen Chairman Victor Danevich noted that approximately twenty homeowners declined access to the DES for water testing.  Sergi responded that the State was taking out the filtration systems and people were afraid to let them onto the property.

Danevich also told him that issues with the unfinished house and fence were out of the scope of the discussion on the license.  Danevich pointed out that Bergeron’s property did meet code for fencing.

Selectman Tom Domenico said, “I take umbrage to the comment by Mr. Sergi that Mr. Bergeron may be receiving special treatment.  If anything, he gets more scrutiny because of his position.”  Domenico outlined the hours that he and Gleason had put in between the two public hearings.  “We reviewed documents, had a conference call with DES and went over old reports.  Hours of time went into this.  That isn’t special treatment.”

Ray Belleville, 176 Marsh Road, again told Selectmen that he wanted “Mr. Bergeron to tell Selectmen that his junkyard was responsible for the contamination in the Marsh Road area and that he accepts all responsibility and accountability.”

James Russell, 174 Marsh Road, was concerned about the water that his wife drank in the late 1990s when she was pregnant.  He didn’t think that Bergeron had done enough to notify neighbors about the contamination that was spreading through the water system.

When questioned by Danevich, Russell said that his home water had been tested for MtBE three times.  The first two times MtBE was not detected.  The last time there was a minimal amount.

When Bergeron spoke, from the public seat and not as a Selectman, he noted that many items not concerned with his license renewal had been discussed.  Pointing out that his checkbook and assets had been frozen by his neighbors who sued him in court, he told Selectmen that it was impossible to finish the house when he didn’t have control of his assets, but also noted that this was not a license renewal requirement.

Selectman Ed Gleason moved to grant a one year license for Jean-Guy’s Used Cars & Parts, Inc. and Domenico seconded.  The vote was 3 – 0 – 1 with Bergeron not voting and Selectman Hal Lynde abstaining because he arrived just as the vote was taken and had missed the discussion.

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